[Buddha-l] Not being able to imagine annihilation [confused]

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 3 02:10:07 MDT 2010

>>> The presupposition is that there is a tathagata at all. Once that
>>> presupposition is challenged,[...]
>>> Richard Hayes

>> That's an unhelpful dodge -- historically, doctrinally, and 
>> philosophically
>> misleading.

> It is not a dodge at all. It is one of the standard ways of interpreting 
> the avyākṛta (unanswered) questions.

Really? Questioning whether there is such a thing as a Tathagata? Can you 
cite some "standard" sources for this?

I suggested bringing in non-Buddhist sources to explicate an answer to a 
question about what *Buddhism* says is not helpful because they confuse the 
matter; one might conflate a non-Buddhist position with a Buddhist position. 
There may or may not be a single "Buddhist" position on the question of 
final death -- but in the context of the avyakata questions and the 
eternalism vs annihilationalism dichotomy, there is general agreement 
between different Buddhist schools.

I found it interesting that several of the folks responding to Luke's 
inquiry showed themselves to be uncomfortable with, or unaccepting of the 
actual "standard" Buddhist responses, feeling it necessary to bring in 
tirthika notions. That's not a criticism of those folks, but an observation 
that perhaps the Buddhist ideas on the subject are in need of some 
examination, since people today do not find them attractive or convincing. 
OR, people are so steeped in atma-drsti that when Buddhism challenges them 
on this at a personal rather than impersonal intellectual level, they run 
for edifying alternatives, as Buddhists in the past have done.



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